“No, in all these things we are more than victorious through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that not even death or life, angels or rulers, things present or things to come, hostile powers, height or depth or any other created thing will have the power to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord!”
Nature is a Retreat of Hope
“All my life through the new sights of nature made me rejoice like a child.” Marie Curie
Thank you to my brother John for these stunning photos. 🙂 Please respect copyright laws. 🙂
“But God released Him from the horrors of death and raised Him back to life, for death could not keep Him in its grip.” Acts 2:24 NLT
Their hearts heave with unshed tears and their heads hang with grief, but their feet trudge on with purpose. Their Master is dead. Their hopes and joys are shattered and buried with Him. But they will still remember the love this Man gave to them.
These women of courage head for the tomb. Their spices and their tears will mingle together to anoint the body, to slow down the decay of their precious Jesus, the one they thought would save them. But now? A dead one can’t deliver them from their enemies.
“Who will roll away the stone from the tomb?” they cry. The stone, like their despair, is far too heavy for these women to move. And besides, how will they ever get past the guards? Impossibilities loom ahead of them, but they can’t stop. The love of Jesus draws them on like bees to honey. Their hearts still cry out to Him in desperation.
Their heads bowed, they are intent on reaching the grave. Then they look up… What?!
“Looking up, they saw that
the stone had been rolled away,
although it was extremely large.”
Mark 16:4 NASB
The stone is already rolled away! And no guards. They enter the tomb and see a young man dressed in a sweeping robe as white as snow. Terror and confusion attack their already troubled hearts as they tremble at the sight of this angel whose appearance is like lightning.
“The angel said to the women,
‘Do not be afraid;
for I know that you are
looking for Jesus
who has been crucified.
He is not here,
for He has risen,
just as He said.
Come, see the place
where He was lying.’”
Matthew 28:5-6 NASB
Their eyes round with wonder, they remember the words Jesus had spoken – that He would be crucified but would rise again the third day. Afraid, yet filled with joy, they hurry to tell the disciples the best news anyone could ever tell. JESUS IS ALIVE!
Sometimes we believe this great news in our heads, but we can’t seem to grasp it fully in our hearts. It may feel like Jesus is still dead. Like our hopes and joys are still buried in that tomb. Like our hearts are so downcast that we cannot even see the stone is already rolled away.
Troubles may threaten to crush and smother us, but there is still hope. Why?
HE IS RISEN! He is still alive. Today. Forever. He was crucified, but He is glorified. For each of us. Our hopes and joys are not in that tomb but alive in Him. He conquered death and hell and left our sins in the tomb. Because He lives, sin’s power is broken. Because He lives, no enemy will triumph over us. Because He lives, nothing and no one can separate us from His love.
Precious Jesus, Like these women Your love draws us. We cannot live without You.
Sometimes our hearts are so heavy; We cannot feel You really are alive. Please shed the blinding gloom from our eyes That we may truly see You have already removed the stone And You truly are alive Yesterday, today, and forever.
Death could not hold You. Hell could not keep You. The sins of this whole world Could not destroy You.
O please, Lord, Dispel the darkness in our hearts With Your everlasting light. Shatter the despair we are buried in And fill us with the joy You gave those women at the tomb. Joy so full and free That it spills out to others.
When depression saps the life from us, Fill us with Your life. May our hearts leap with joy Because You are alive And here with us Always and forever.
No matter what we go through You hold our hand. Even when it’s dark Even when we can’t feel You You are alive Beside us Within us.
It’s scary when we feel so powerless and helpless in the storms of life, isn’t it? The coronavirus storm marching like a deadly enemy across the world causing devastating changes and losses for old and young alike. Physically, emotionally, and mentally. On top of other known or hidden trials hitting us as individuals or families.
When the disciples were in a boat with Jesus (Mark 4:35-41), a raging storm whipped up powerful waves that washed over the boat. As the boat filled up, they were sure they would sink into the sea.
Desperation and distress tore at their spirits. Jesus, where are You!?
They cried out, “Teacher, do You not care that we are perishing?”
Jesus got up from sleeping on a pillow at the helm, a pilot’s place. He rebuked the wind and waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Immediately it was completely calm.
Jesus asked, “How can you be so afraid? After all you’ve seen, where is your faith?”
They forgot that Jesus was in their boat, so they had nothing to fear, no matter how strong the storm was. They forgot all the miracles they had already witnessed Jesus perform. They forgot Jesus is a Pilot whose plans are always to prosper them.
We can have such short memory spans, can’t we? I I know I do. I easily remember the fear and devastation of past storms in life and forget God’s deliverance and how He has made me stronger in Him through them.
I easily get discouraged and devastated at all the pain in the world today, and forget God’s Almighty power to rescue us from the deepest pit, to get us safely through the most severe storms in life, and to know and care about every detail of our lives.
“Away despair! My gracious Lord doth hear. Though winds and waves assault my keel, He doth preserve it: He doth steer, Ev’n when the boat seems most to reel. Storms are the triumph of His art: Well may He close His eyes, but not His heart.”
George Herbert (1633)
I know it’s not always easy, especially when “winds and waves assault” and blindside us, but God is still a faithful Pilot and “storms are the triumph of His art.” Though there may be times when we feel He doesn’t hear our cries, He is still working behind the scenes. Always. He never, ever closes off His heart of love, compassion, and mercy to us.
Even in our weak and frail moments, His love never fails. His unconditional love that doesn’t condemn us even when fear and anxiety coexist with clinging faith in the midst of the storms of life.
“Because of the Lord’s great love
we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”
Sometimes It Takes a Storm
by Jessica King
“They were drifting in the darkness, The sea was all around. They cried out to the Master, Please save us or we’ll drown. Jesus heard the cries, And mercy stilled the wind. Sometimes it takes a storm, To see the sun again.”